Chicago has put on hold plans to blanket the city in a wi-fi cloud claiming that the prices for broadband have come down enough for people and that there are plenty of public spaces where people can jump online.
Earthlink is killing plans to build out a network in San Francisco and is also cutting back jobs.
Earthlink looked to be a major player in the muni wi-fi game striking deals with several cities to bring low cost, wireless broadband to low income areas. It appears that the costs are too much and the plan is not really economically viable.
It is a shame.
I still believe in this idea. Wi-fi and soon Wi-Max will give the ability to shoot out and cover massive areas with high speed access. People who could not afford high speed access before might now be able too which is a good thing. Yes someone has to pick up the tab and the idea was that through advertising and people who would subscribe for access to higher speeds would be the ones to do that.
But this is capitalism and in the end someone is going to half to monetarily profit. Are the economics there yet? Probably not and certainly not for a company like Earhtlink and it’s current financial situation. But for a larger company with more capital could see this as an idea before it’s time.